tv U.S. Senate CSPAN November 22, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
reasons to believe at this point that the parliament probably will allow the king to make -- maintain all the power. what are the loopholes? the king is keeping for himself in the areas where he is in charge of the decision, three areas. one is religion, which is not strange. the king of morocco is the commander of the faithful. the second is security, but the third is decisions of strategic interest. those are the loopholes you could drive a truck through because strategic interest, strategic importance is very much in the eyes of the beholder. you know, education is not an area of strategic importance, but there should be a proposal for a complete read -- and the approach to education in the country. the king could very well declare that as a strategic decision and he is going to maintain control of it.
so essentially what it means is that the king can maintain control on anything he wants by declaring it a strategic importance. the question is the political parties. are they going to allow him to -- or will they push back if he tries to, if he tries to, to exert size as much power as he is done in the past. the elections have not taken place. the elections are now scheduled for friday i guess, the 25th of november so we really don't know the elections, the result. but there are two indications that suggest to me that probably there is not going to be a very, what do you say, act up parliament. there are two main contenders in the elections. one is a coalition of parties
that is organized around the party for an ethnicity and modernity set up by the king. it is somebody who is very close to the king. if that party and its coalition when the elections, get the largest number of votes in the election than under the new constitution the king is forced to choose, to choose an individual from the winning coalition and make that person prime minister. what will happen in this case is that they king's -- becomes the prime minister and that is not encouraging way to see the power of the prime minister and the power of the government, vis-a-vis all the government and the same for the parliament. there is also a possibility that the party that gets a plurality of the boat is going to be the party for justice and development, which is, which is
the islamist party. it is a very moderate party and above all it is a party that takes you to very clearly the main goal in this election is to complete the legitimization of the pjd to complete the integration of of the islamists in the political system. a party that has as its major goal to completely integrate in the political system is probably not going to upset the apple cart too much. it's not going to push too hard against the king. so there is in morocco, in the end, after all the king taking the bold initiative of the new constitution and so on will find a situation which is really much like the one that existed before. why is this a risk? you can say, what's wrong with
it? it's a risk because in morocco you have another islamist political organization, that has so far stayed on kind of the sidelines of the political system. it is very much opposed to not only to the constitution that the king has presented, the new constitution, but at least from time to time it's beginning to question the legitimacy of the monarchy as a whole. now, nobody knows exactly how much support these organizations have, because it has never competed in an election because it refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the moroccan state. this is by far the largest political organization in the country. in other words, if by moving so cautiously, the king may end up,
may be a victory. he may have won the first round if you want. he has maintained much of his power. he is maintain the flexibility but he may find himself in a very different type of a position. there is a lot of unrest in morocco and is the test of how successful the king has been when you see the -- . the moroccans for several election cycles now have expressed their dissatisfaction by just not going out and voting. the last election was about dirty 7% of eligible voters cast a vote and over one third of the balance that was cast worked protest votes it. we may very well see a similar -- if there is still a low amount then we know the monarchy has not moved fast
enough, that mohammed has not been as successful as he thought he was in staying ahead of the protest in managing the process of reform and he may be in fact be forced like many other arab leaders, to manage, manager protest, manage it, try to deal with a very dissatisfied population rather than being able to introduce the reform he wants. at me move on to bid for a moment -- yeah. and just talk about one more country and it is bahrain. because by rain and a sense is the opposite of what has been happening in other countries. you can say the other monarchy still have legitimacy. and a in a sense, i think that
they are missing an opportunity to move more decisively, but they still have that opportunity. the opportunity is still not gone essentially. the legitimacy is very high and that is clear in all studies. in by rain and think we have a different solution. in other words, the monarchy has pretty much lost its legitimacy at least in the eyes of the shia population. you hear even the most moderate members of the shia position are now calling for a full-fledged constitution of monarchy. that is a monarchy where the king does not have power where the king rules but does not govern and of course they are beginning to ask for the monarchy completely. tomorrow at 7:00 in the morning, washington time, the commission will present the results of its
investigation on how the country handled the protests. very briefly for those of you who have not followed the bahrain closely, first of all bahrain has a long history of political convulsion essentially of strife where the shia population which is a majority but also does not have much power, pushes against the monarchy. there was a 10 year period of mac of upheaval during the '90s. finally they reached some agreement, some modification of the political system, partially elected parliament and at the beginning of the gear as protests broke out in other arab countries, but the protests in bahrain started again. testing in bahrain was put down pretty harshly. how harshly? we will know more clearly. so far we have you know the --
say one thing and the monarchy says another thing. it is supposed to be the definitive study done by an independent commission from outside bahrain that would tell how, what actually happened. and i think judging on the way in which the bahraini government and embassy here are becoming proactive in their goal to learn from the mistakes they made in the past. i think there is reason to believe that this report is going to be very critical of the government. we will know more tomorrow. clearly the bahrainis are willing and although they keep on telling us nobody has seen the report yet, they have seen the report. and i think that it is not a good report.
the point, since i'm running out of time here, the point is the fact that the bahraini monarchy reacted to the unrest, not by moving towards the process of reform but by calling in the peninsula shield force which means that the saudi troops and the moroccan cherubs, few were from other countries, are now in the country trying to maintain over -- order and so on. by doing all of this the monarchy has lost a lot of its legitimacy and has lost the capacity to introduce reforms from the top. because they think at this point, the kind of reform it will require to pacify the shia population would be reforms that the monarchy probably cannot accept. it will amount to the demise of
the ruling family. let me stop here. >> thank you arena for giving very good context to what monarchies can do with their time and the challenges of reform from above. a country like a reign which is clearly missed the boat as it were. thank you for those detailed analyses of morocco and bahrain and i turn to our commentator, jon. >> thank you. is a pleasure to be a carnegie. thank you for some very provocative remarks and the draft paper i saw which helped structure them. i also want to commend carnegie for looking at this. i think we got lazy because the last time we had a fall of the monarchy in the middle east was more than 30 years ago. the last time we had a fall of the air of monarchy was more than 40 years ago and we all had a sense of the problems have been solved. the stability of monarchies have been solved in a think what we have seen in the region in the
last year has caused us to reinvestigate and i commend you for doing so. it seems to me that there are three pillars on which arab monarchies and perhaps other monarchy's rest. won this legitimacy and legitimacy for people not from monarchical systems i find a hard concept to grasp, because it always feels to me like i've never quite understand what people are talking about when they talk about the king. the way people talk about the king and the way people are educated to talk about the king and the way people are educated not to talk about the king is deeply ingrained in societies ruled by kings. and it just takes going to morocco and going to jordan and going to a number of the arab states, the gulf states, that you understand it's not just the language. there is clearly something else in there that is deeply part of the educational system, deeply part of the religious structure and there is a way that they kings in this region enjoy a serious comprehensive legitimacy
foreign to us coming from non- monarchical systems. i think part of being a king in this part of the world, part of the way that arab monarchies work is the king is an arbiter, not a dispute. is really important. the king does not fight. the king moderates fights between people under the king. and that keeps the king peer. if you want to think about it cometh the king is sort of like a crooked referee. the king sort of throws a call every once in a while toward the side he favors but nobody doubts that the authority of the king to be the judge of what is in bounds in what is out of bounds and i think that kings that lose sight of that role have become arbiters as the shah of iran did, and that being former kings. being a king is really presiding
over a much more dynamic system and the kinds of system, the most authoritarian leaders preside over, that you want to have a -- within the system. subsidiary to that and related, obviously are related is this diversion of power and monarchies which i think we think of kings as absolute rulers. the king can do whatever he wants but that is not the way arab monarchies work. in many cases they tried to fuse power and try to give power to relatives. my friend did an interesting book called all in the family about these dynastic monarchies where where you know if you look at the gcc space, senior members of the royal family is the defense minister, the interior minister and the foreign minister of every gcc state. now either that is a wacky coolants events or there is something deep in the structure of how these places work that you want close relatives covering those things. part of it is that they get
patronage from that and you can give them money from the monarchy out. you can distribute it. if you are a senior member of the royal family to have a stake in there is often i think an advantage to having sort of an incoherence among senior members of the royal family because that is an increasing number of people in society who feel i have a senior royal who is fighting was fighting for my interest. so you don't want again, the shah is the example of a monarch who held it all too closely, the shah had to clear a plan for where he wanted to lead iran. the shah did not have enough incoherence in his government and partly as a consequence of that, it was too easy for people to say i have no stake in the system. i have no interest in his continuance. clearly i think in the essential monarchy is what we see is the monarchs use the family, they use money to co-opt important people and co-opt important tribes and co-opt important
groups that a large number of people feel they have a stake and again the monarch is the referee. the third issue related to the previous to our money. monarchs tend to have money that they put around here and there. it's not only employed within government but employed between government as we saw the saudi's looked at the neighborhood so they not only put $130 billion, that's 30% of gdp in the stimulus package into saudi arabia, $10 million to the bahrainis. who knows what with the jordanians will get and the moroccans presumably are going to benefit to some degree. there is an interest among all the monarchies in preserving other monarchies and the sense that you can use money to help do this. money looper case the system and if you can't find enough money, then you have to find other ways to lubricate the system. it seems to me that for all of this, where the public fits in, if you look at the polling
numbers, there are generally not overwhelming polling numbers saying we need democracy. you see some things about people wanting greater voice but it seems to me really what people want is people want that are outcomes, and if you look at perceptions of democracy in the arab world, if you look at a country like kuwait which has had a parliament for decades, but the parliament is not really a great advertisement for, this is the better results you get with a monarchy. a kuwaiti friend told me at the last new government hospital building kuwait was built in 1976. there is a sense in kuwait that it is not parliament that holds everything it. in a sense of you look down the gulf, qatar and uae do have largely authoritarian systems with wise and benevolent rulers who have presided over this incredible increase in wealth, employment and opportunity in travel and all the kinds of things that people want.
my sense is that for many people, what they really want is better outcomes. they want a sense of justice. they don't necessarily need to vote. they don't have any more faith in democratic systems than then the idiot -- 91% of americans who disapprove of the job congress is doing. teeple just wants better outcomes. to my knowledge, to my understanding they don't care as much about the mechanics of how you get there. we could argue the only way to get a better outcomes is more representative government but i think that is an argument that is not totally solved in the arab world. what we have seen i think paradoxically is despite a relative level of satisfaction, we see the preemptive effort in qatar and we have already seen it in the uae to expand the franchise, to get people the intention of giving people the right to vote. in the uae they have a federal and national council election
which initially, i love this system. they hand-picked the people who are allowed to vote for the government. the government picks the people to vote for the government but they expanded out considerably in the last round. a low turnout, about 25%, but there seems to be commitment to give people more of an ability to vote and they are going to expand the vote as well. it's a preemptive move rather than something that is just driven by demand. and it seems to me that in many cases, that is something that poor states have tried to do, because they haven't had the easy stuff of money to solve the problems and example of the state which has most masterfully used the franchise and use the political process to sort of regulate the political space in the country is morocco. the king of morocco has done a masterful job for more than a
decade, always being on the verge of fundamental reform. i mean, there is always a latest and greatest that is really going to change it and i remember in 2004, decentralization of power that was started about five or six years ago. i'm not saying these things are nothing. they are real. they have effects but the effects are always longer-term, more subtle than they are initially announced to be. anything by doing this, and the way the king does this, the king decides what are the issues, how are the issues debated? who are the people who decide the issues and the public, because the king has so much legitimacy the public wants the king to do this. is actually a think a very effective way of managing public demand. part of the reason the king was able to issue the constitution so quickly is because people have been talking about the
constitution, not because people had been demanding a constitution, because the king decided we should be serious about the constitution. there is already a discussion that can help that debate. i think one of the other things the king has done very effectively, i'm not sure we 100% agree, it seems to me that one of the things we king has done a having a legal set of islamist and politics and outside of politics is the islamist vote. so they're people who say i've nothing to do with the system. there people who say we will work within the system and try to get what we can get them part of what that does is it means islam is never overwhelmed the entire system. you could argue, it's brilliant. you could argue that's not really what is going on but it seems to me that part of the strategy here is regulating who
can participate in debated how they participate in debate as a way of maintaining control over how the system works. to move on to bahrain, seems to me that sub or teen is a terrible burden for jordan and let me tell you why i think that is true. in bahrain you have 30% of the population that is sunni that identifies with a monarchy the monarchy and clings to the monarchy. in jordan, you have perhaps 40% of the population which feels that it belongs to the state and the state belongs to it and for those of you who haven't had conversations with jordanians and government service and military especially, there really is this sense that i have gotten that palestinians are interlopers. they are visiting making
millions of dollars in the private sector while jordanians, real jordanians do the hard work of building the space. it strikes me as sort of an eerie echo of the sense that many sunnis have been bahrain that they are the ones who are serving in the police and in the army and others are busy out doing their thing, but they are not really holding bahrain the way palestinians aren't holding jordanians and one of the things that worries me is this sense that i increasingly get that they can, because he relies on the army and the army as an institution, the king identifies more with some of his subjects than others. he is not above the palestinian east bank frei, but as part of it, and i agree there are lots of ways to divide the jordanians quality but it seems we have to incredibly different elites.
you have an east bank elite, which is deeply tied to the government and a west the west bank elite which is deeply tied to business and the two of them see each other threatening one another and threatening the state rather than see themselves as inherent parts of it. all of that i think suggests the need for politics to help leave it and it seems to me that the key issue in the report from everything i have heard from people involved in writing it, the report will be a political document. it is intended to be a political document, not a criminal indictment. i mean, it is as much finds that -- fact-finding as one can do sitting with those who work in bahrain very much. it is intended, and this goes back to the first , it's intended to enhance the power of the king within the bahrain because when i was in bahrain a little more than a month ago the
perception was the king had become like a third or fourth dose powerful person in the country. the guys in charge of the military had more power, that the prime minister was extraordinarily powerful and the king inc. crown prince as was pointed out this morning, the king is probably third or fourth in the power structure and this is intended as i understand it to give the king a way to reassert his centrality. some ways diffusion of power has gone too far and this is intended as a way to help the king get back more of a central role that the king of bahrain is not the dictator of bahrain. the king of bahrain is intended to be the arbiter and because of really a breakdown in the politics, a break down in managing politically the schism between the sunni population that feels increasingly
estranged from the shia population, the breakdown that marginalizes the king in the king's passes to fundamentally reassert his role as the arbiter of bahraini politics i think is a cautionary tale for how politics can get away from you in divided societies with minority rules and security services which will is what we are seeing in jordan and other places. thank you. >> thank you very much john for that wrench -- rich sets of comments and insight. we have a half-hour for q&a. there are microphones so please raise your hand and stand up. stand up so the microphone comes to you and introduce yourself if you would. >> i'm adviser to apec and i have two questions. one, this is a follow-up to what jon said. it seems in jordan you have a serious imbalance between on the one hand the minority of
palestinians who have most of the money and a minority of these jordanians who have most of the power. my question is how can the government really go about repairing this imbalance in the second question is not strictly related to the topic but could have an effect in the future. could you comment on the current move by the monarchy to have some kind of an overture to hamas and the visit of the king to ramallah. >> we will take a few more questions, raised hands there in the back. >> lindsay workman from the national democratic institute, and di. my question, first of all thank you very much. i've enjoyed the conversation about top down reform and the prospects. want to ask about autumns of demand in these countries. we have talked about apathy in them rocco and talked about a divided society and jordan. what could intentionally trigger the kind of magnetic pull of
protest movements we have seen in other places in the region? >> more questions for this round? there in the front. >> yes, thank you. jim michael. i am a consultant in development with a principle focus of development of rule of law. it seems to me that this top down and it is related to the previous question i think, has to interact with a civil society that has some values of things like equality of treatment, a belief that the institutions of governance and justice can make a positive difference for the society, and where you have the different groups contending and competing and an acceptance of the idea that well if you are east bank you get treated differently than if you are west
bank and if you are women you get treated then if you are a man. the kinds of divisions in society and the skepticism which i found in talking to people in the region, the skepticism about whether these reforms are modernization or whether they are a transformational change in society. i would like to hear from the panel panels about how you see engaging civil society. some of these reforms like the constitutional process have not been very transparent or participatory. how does civil society and a civic culture that is going to encourage and further the reform process, going to develop in this because if it doesn't -- >> this is going to be a sustainable process. >> turning to our panel. >> the question of imbalance in jordanian society. the traditional relationship between the different sectors of
society and the regime is changing. today most of the protesters on the street are east of jordanians. palestinians, a lot of the population has consciously decided not to go to the state because they don't want to be, and that thing blamed for what is going on. they don't want to be rid of the rights that they have for many reasons. they have consciously not gone to the state and it seems to me that this traditional formula where you know, you have a system where you buy favors basically to the east jordanian population is coming to an and. ..
>> it has to be by the king because he, alone today, can credible claim that syria presents all the sectors of society, those who are senior -- jordannian and of palestinian origin. he can credibly claim that, but he cannot alone introduce a reform process that's not inclusive, to go back to -- to go to your question of the civil society. any reform process, and i think that applies not just to jordan, but to the rest of the arab world -- that is written by the government and then handed over
to people and said this is it, guys, you implement it. it's not a process that's going to work. if it is not developed by the different sectors of society themselves, it has no chance of succeeding. i mean, that's it. it's necessary, but not sufficient condition, if you want. we had successful experiment in jordan of writing such a blueprint, such an inclusive blueprint, the national agenda of 2005 actually when all sectors of society of political economy did participate in the writing of the document, but then, of course, it was put on the shelf because the system thought it was too far reaching. today, the national agenda is outdated. today, people are calling for way more than the national agenda. when we did this six years ago, any talk about any constitutional amendment was to boo. to today, already, we've had 42,
and a lot of people think, you know, it's not enough. you need to -- you need to do more. so a participating process is, indeed, a must in the arab world, and it is a sign of the seriousness of the regime because the constitutional amendment committee, although it produced good work in jordan, but one of the major criticisms, of course, is that it had no opposition members, none whatsoever. that's, you know, that's not -- that's not credible in my view. the question about the monarchy and hamas, i mean, there's no question that the regime in jordan is warming up to hamas more than it useed to. i happen to believe that, you know, political islam, i think, needs to be included, and it needs to be talked to, and
that's without talking to political islam in the region. you are excluding powerful sector of society. i believe in a political islam movement that is peaceful, but i think that's with regard to the arab-israeli conflict. it is not -- it is not useful nor, in fact, credible to exclude any party. i mean, can we imagine a situation where you have a peace agreement with israel without hamas involvement? it's just not going to work in my view, but a lot of people have interpreted that to mean hamas is going back to jordon, going to open offices there, and i have no way of telling whether this is true or not, but the official view of the government is this is not true and there's no plans to bring back hamas to
jordan, and finally on the issue of bottom-up demand, this is a question that marina posed, and this is the question that arab monarchies face. you know, so far the overwhelming majority of the political and bureaucratic layers around the regimes in arab monarchies are telling these leaders, these monarchs, don't worry. you know, the number of protesters in the streets is no more than 5,000 at best, therefore, you have nothing to worry. of course, the counterargument is don't wait until the 5,000 become 30,000 because then it will be too late, and the best way, you know, to avoid such a situation where the street becomes the place center is a reform process from above, which in my view is totally doable in
jordan, but then the monarch and system will have to change or adjust the traditional relational relationship between the regime and the public, rule of law has to apply, you know, everybody has to feel whether they are east jordanian or east, and they have to feel they are treated equally, and if people feel that and if people see this credible reform process that could take 5-10 years, but if they see a credible one, that is participating and it's not just talked about and put on the shelf, but see one that's credible, i think people are patient, but what people have stopped to be patient about is reform rhetoric that does not -- that that is no followed up with implementation. >> thank you.
any comments? >> the bottom-up, first of all, i'd like to point out that i think there's no -- if you judge on the action of the arab monarchies, there is no arab monarchy that does not believe a large protest is possible in the country, and that they have to try and stay ahead of it. problem is, and bottom-up, a push from the bottom is absolutely necessary for reform from the top to be implemented. never would -- nobody's going to sort of just out of the blue start implementing reforms if they don't feel that it is meaningful, that there is a push for it. the problem is that arab monarchies, many of the arab monarchies, with the exception -- with the exception of jordan and morocco have tried to respond to the potential for
the country by essentially trying to buy off the population by introducing real changes. i have some more different view of the uae announcing elections, and i think they're still baby steps. i don't think there's real change, but by and large of the position we can see in the proper situation without having to be with a real pressure, but they know that the jury is there, and it's why they are acting the way they are acting, certainly in the participation. yes, i think it's crucial, but it's not going to come unless you have moral demonstration. think of the case of nonark and making the writing process, quote-on-quote, "a participating
process," and there's the very interesting name, and they are supposed to be the one that provided, that allow the civil society to make an impact on. i mean, they were asked to make some missions, and they never called -- you know, they never con consulted the begin, and i think the problem there is i don't want to say it's their fault, but the fact is they were not organized enough to really force the hand of -- the -- of the -- to take into consideration what they wanted, so if you wanted the bottom line here is that the reform from the top is only going to come if there is sufficient push from the bottom. the problem is the push from the bottom can engulf the reform at
the top. if it becomes too much, and this is perhaps one of the reasons why monarchies are so cautious. they are afraid that they lose control over the reform process. >> two very quick points. i think what drives the demand for different political systems is the sense of different political systems get better results; right? i mean, to the extent that people do think that a more democratic system or representative system gives them better results in terms of justice, in terms of economics and other things, that drives people towards it to the extent that they see democratic systems in iraq and elsewhere leading to chaos and social conflict. that is a disincentive to pursue them. i think the other piece of this that's important to keep in mind is that liberal voices who push for more representative government are not the ones who always capture the government that becomes more representative afterwards. there's something of -- there's a sort of an unfortunate
passivity about many liberals. you know, if you just look at how egypt played out. there's a whole core of activists in cairo who have no links to the broader country or have links outside of cairo, and there's other parties, leftover parties, with extensive national networks. part of opening up this system means you have to do politics in a serious way, and i think one of the things that monarchies have been extraordinary successful in doing, and in saudi arabia an all, they both religious conservatives and social liberals under their wings, protect them both, against each other, and they become the arbiter, and that in many ways protects the centrality of the monarchy and makes both sides fearful of what might happen if you really had a more democratic system, and it ends up continuing the system rather than opening up to political reform.
>> thank you, jon. another round of questions. let me start there. ma'am? >> thank you. margarita ragsdale, with the department of state. i've been following the state department for a long time starting as a graduate student, and looking at the arab spring, i was first excited, and then i began to worry. i was wondering if the monarchs are damned if they do, and damned if they don't, and the monarchies have not had a long experience working in a democratic fashion, but i'm wondering if any government in the middle east now can manage the unrealistic expectation of instant prosperity as a result of change so that much of what they are seeing goes to what was talked about in the sense of a better life, and i'm wondering if they really can get that even
with the reforms that these governments will do. thank you. >> thank you. and i have a question on my own. i wanted to ask. you mentioned in the remarks, of course, the gcc, the jordanian situation. can you tell us a bit more about how you see that going, why the offer was made, what it might end up with and affect jordan and the gcc. if no other questions, let's go to the panelists, and maybe go in reverse order. jon, you want to start first? >> yeah. my sense is that, you know, on the one hand the loyal exporting states; right, are in a pretty good position because of where oil prices are, and that means they don't have to do what many of them did in the 1990s when oil prices were lower, and you
have to think of different political deals. i think, you know, what happens in iraq and what happens in e gent and what happens -- egypt and what happens in libya, and we're still going to see, you know, what kinds of transitions we have when in both syria and yemen and both are coming, how those play out will have a dramatic effect over the next five years on demands for opening up systems because if, you know, unwrapping the package means that all the worms get out, then people will will seccombe say just -- people will say just leave the thing wrapped up. where oil prices are over the next 10 years has a profound effect how much demand there is for change because people feel more or less prosperity or growing at the right rate, and if i knew where oil prices would be in the next ten years, i'd be much wealthier than i am, but, you know, i think it's a
non-trivial variable we don't really think about in general. the higher the oil prices are, the more it constrains political demands and political change in oil exporting states, and the lower they are, the more it forces change, and we -- that's beyond my ability to protect. i think, you know, to your question, i think there is a sort of regional interest in what people see in the region, and they played the incredible role not only as the narrater of the incredible change, but also projecting images and framing the discourse of how this all works. i think that most of the gcc states have decided that they've seen enough of popular revolution demanding change, and my own judgment is that they're going to be looking for
solutions in countries which do not involve negotiating with the street and instead will involve forces coming in and establishing control and making deals with people from on high rather than sort of opening up a very messy process of contestation negotiation. that's a gut sense, but i think if you look at how the countries are looking at yemen and looking at syria, i think that's what i see, and one of the reasons they find egypt so disturbing right now is because of a sense they don't know where it's headed. egypt is the center of gravity for the region, and the sense that egypt is going to collapse into competing demand is really threatening to a lot of these countries. the relations within the region and more broadly in a kind of demonstration effect that egypt might have from morocco all the
way through to iraq. >> thank you, john. >> i'm not so convinced that the problem for these countries 1 going to be the un-- is going to be the unrealistic expectation. i think people know there's not going to be prosperity. i was following very closely years ago the transcigs in south africa, and everybody was saying, oh, my god, the country's going to be bankrupted because the african population is going to expect to be paid the same salaries that the whites were receiving, and, of course, that was simply not feasible because of the way the whites were paid such high salaries is because the african population was paid such a low salary. there's no way of balancing the two. it bhandz -- demands walking around cairo now a nowadays, and no matter where you walk, there's
demonstrations, and my expectation of -- it is the government that have essentially try to solve the problem, not by introducing political reforms, but by making concessions. it's one that's encouraged by the government. for example, in egypt, the two or three years before mubarak was ousted, where there was a lot of protesters that do a lot of small fights and small protests all over the country, and the longer they were kept, economic, the government would give in, and so i would argue it's not so much an unrealistic expectation, but it is the -- it is the governments that they pay money rather than facing the problem of reform. that's to say it's not out of the long run. all these countries have huge problems of the, you know, tackling the unemployment issue,
not even countries that are rich enough to pay off people still have to solve that problem. they cannot keep large number of people, particular of young people, on the door and not expect -- not expect trouble. >> thank you, marina. >> i think whether you are excited about worried about the arab spring, i never liked to call it the arab spring from day one. it's because this all depends on the time prism you're looking at. if this romantic notion that immediately developed after january of last year of autocratic regimes leaving regimes to democratic regimes which was, of course, unrealistic, and in the absence of civil society and a political culture as you said, it was simply not going to happen, so if people are looking at few
months, you know, of course, everyone is worried. if people are looking at this as a process that will, indeed, go through a lot of reiterations, a lot of mistakes before it hopefully arrives at stable and prosperous societies, then it's a different ball game. i mean, i'm not -- i'm not surprised by what's happening in egypt today because i mean, anybody who thought this was a democratic institution, i mean, let him argue with me. i mean, the arab, you know, was there by necessity at the beginning, but, of course, it's not going to protect democracy. i mean, anybody could have told you that, so i think we need to be one, realistic that these transitions are going to take time, that there are different conditions in different arab countries, so some countries will do better than others in
eastern europe. poland did better than russia until today. in the arab world, i mean, you asked the question whether any government can manage transition. yes, i mean, look at tunisia. yes, it's a small country, but the transition has been smooth in tunisia, and, you know, they had fair elections. they have the coalition government, next head of the country now is a secular leftist agreed to by the largest, you know, party that won the elections, the islamists, the head of the constitutional assembly is another secular in the country, ect.. this transition is going very well in tunisia. that doesn't mean it's going to go as well in other arab countries, but it does mean that it is possible, and that, i think, there are lessons that can be learned as we go through such transitions. people will learn lesson lessons
moving forward. one lesson i think the arab world already learned is nobody wants another thee karattic government, and that's already learned. that does not mean religion will not play at all, and an important one in arab governments that emerge, but i think that for the large part, they will be civilian governments and not theocratic ones. on the question of the gcc, it's been six months since the gcc invited jordan and morocco to membership. nothing much has been done until then. there's different reasons. i mean, it's clear that not all gcc countries are enthusiastic about this. the saudis are, but maybe it stops there. there's many questions that are raised. other questions have to do with
is this full membership or part membership? the countries go through phases. first there's the customs union, then free trade agreements between them, and then the last stage no one's reached which is reunion which no one has reached, so is jordan -- for ondare, of course, the lure is that it will have free movement of lay were and capital so jordanians can work in the gulf at ease without getting work permits and more investments from the government come to jordan. that's the lure, of course, but as i said, it is very interesting to me that -- and this is not a new demand. i was in government 15 years ago when he first asked for membership in the gcc. it is very interesting to me today that when you asked jordanians on the street, the answer is not automatically yes, you know?
it's what is the catch here? [laughter] so -- >> what's the catch. >> so there is also -- i'm not saying -- i'm not necessarily saying that there is sort of a catch against reform or what i'm saying is that people understand today that their problems are not purely economy, and that there is a demand for better government that will not go away just because their pockets become fuller, at least in jordan. >> thank you very much. if there's no more questions, i'd like to thank you, all, for coming this morning, and i'd certainly like to thank the excellent panel. the people will be coming out in a few weeks, please look for it. we look forward to reading it, and please join me in thanking our panelists, please. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] >> and a reminder in case you missed this program, you can see it later in the program schedule leading 0ur primetime at eight o'clock eastern here on c-span2. next up, though, the regional commander of u.s. troops in afghanistan holds a briefing on u.s. troop reductions in that country. earlier today, spoke with pentagon reporters for about 40 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning here in the pentagon briefing room, and good evening in afghanistan. i want to republic general david allen back in the briefing room, and general allen is the regional command east. general allen and the men and
women of the first calvary division assumed authority for rc east in may of this year in full partnership with the afghan national security forces, he commands a combined team of 8 u.s. french and polish forces. our responsibility includes 14 provinces with a combined population of more than 7.5 million afghan citizens. this is the general's second briefing with us. he joined us in august of this year and will be briefing us today from his headquarters. following the opening remarks, we'll take your questions, and with that, general, i'll turn it over to you, sir. >> thanks, jane, and i appreciate the opportunity to talk with all of you. on behalf of all the teammates of combined joint task force one, it's an honor to represent
the troops of regional command east. we just completed our six month assessment on the campaign plan progress, and with the 68,000 afghan security forces with whom we partner, we are currently on glide path to accomplish our assigned missions. our main effort continues to be partnership with and development of the afghan security forces to achieve security prime for the nearly 7.5 million afghans in the 14 provinces and 160 districts that comprise regional command east. due to the successes of our predecessors, we can focus more and more on the partnership and capacity of the afghan army, police, and border police. the campaign continuity with our predecessors allowedded us to sustain the momentum and initiative against the various
insurgent groups like the hah canny network. there's indicators that security forces and coalition forces disrupted security threats. during last months operation shamsheer, coalition forces captured and killed a dozen haqqani leaders and captured a dozen fighters. this involved almost 2,000 solders, 60% of which were afghan. it postured us to keep the pressure on the enemies of the people of afghanistan this winter. conversely, insurgent attacks this fall failed miserably across the board. examples of failed insurgent attacks in the last two months include suicide bombers who failed this their attempt to attack the government center in the gardez district in 16 of october. one detonated the device and killed himself while afghan police stopped the remaining
three attackers. in a separate incident, insurgents tried an ineffective attack on the district center in, and on the 10th of november where afghan police and security forces killed eight insurgentings. additionally, coalition forces killed multipl insurgents during two separate failed complex attacked on complex in 7 october and 8 november. it's increasingly evident that we are facing and defeating inexperienced and poorly trained and led insurgent fighters. most recently, despite public sentiments of their intent to use any and all variable insur gents to attack the traditional, the afghan security forces provided a secure environment for the historic gathering this past week. over the past 90 days, violence causes 85%-90% of afghan
civilian casualties despite leaders such as mullah's directives to stop targeting civilians. we can deduce those who target civilians are undisciplined or the leaders lack the ability to enforce their own directives. because of the enemies' continued violence against the afghan people, there's increased cooperation between the afghan people, the local governments, and the security forces who serve them. i believe we are now seeing, in eastern afghanistan, the result of having the right inputs for the past year now. senior leaders professed this last year and recent successes demonstrate how vital the inputs are. much more important work remains to be done, but there's intangible progress in the afghan security forces and capacity. we'll continue to press forward with our afghan partners to
achieve a stable and secure future for the people of afghanistan. with that, i'm happy to take your questions. >> thank you, sir. we'll start here. >> thank you. thank you, general. this is india grove nation, and my question is now some elements in pakistan are now trying 20 reconsider or they have announced they will not attack anymore in pakistan. what i'm asked is is this going to help you that haqqani network will effect your mission, and also, as we approach thanksgiving, what is the mood of the -- during this thanksgiving, for the u.s. mission concern, thank you.
>> well, i think i understood the second half of your question clearly. our morale is high, and our soldiers are very confident and excited about the capacity that's developing in their afghan security force partners as we look forward to celebrating thanksgiving here in the midweek, and we definitely feel the support of our families back home, and also of our leadership. we have many visiting us during the holiday period, and in terms of whether or not the haqqanis dialogue with pakistan affects our efforts here remains to be seen, and we will obviously be -- we are ready to continue to maintain relentless pressure on any and all insurgents who attack the afghan people and the efforts of the security forces of afghanistan.
>> hi, general, it's courtny from nbc news. you mentioned in your opening statement that you believe the inputs are right in the last year, the number of u.s. troops and afghan troops, but we're hearing there's going to be a surge or another increase of u.s. troops into rc east next year and middle of the year before the surge draws down. do you still anticipate that and anticipate an increase in troops and perhaps an increase in operations in your area coming early 2012? >> well, thanks, courteney, and i know you're well aware this was really the first full fighting season with all the surge forces on the ground, and i think we can clearly see the impact that it had on denying the insur gents any opportunity
to regain lost ground both in the south, sweet, and also in the -- southwest, and also in the areas we rested from their control during the summer campaign. we are, obviously, still in the process of the early phase of the 2011 reductions, and we are on track to meet that by the middle of next month, and the resources that we have now are -- have us in good shape for both the winter fighting season and heading into the spring campaign and any future decision that general allen or general scott make on resources is something that is probably best addressed to them. >> general, hi, david cloud with the "l.a. times". wanted to ask about the
partnering effort you mentioned. some in washington believe there should be a shift in that effort, away from partnering u.s. units with afghan units into an adviser approach in order to speed up the ability of afghan units to take over battle space. do you -- my questions -- two questions -- one, do you have embedded advisers within any units, and two, are you thinking about moving to that kind of model, and do you think it would be beneficial? >> thank you, david. the quickest way to accelerate the development of afghan security forces is by putting the world's best army at that mission, and that's what we've been doing with our embedded partnership with the companies
and battalions of the afghan security forces, and we have seen market improvement through that embedded partnership, and that has also built the confidence of their leaders as well as their confidence as we do that. now, we also have security force assistance teams as a part of our effort, and we align them with the units that are -- have made the most progress so we can partner with those units that most need the development work, and frankly, it's a very careful assessment that our commanders at every level make to ensure that we have our embedded partners with the right units and the right leaders as well as our advisers working with those units that have developed to the point where advisory assistance
is sufficient to sustain them towards the final readiness. >> so you have -- sounds like a mix of embedded advisers and partnered units. can you just help me understand what the break down is there? i mean, of the asf and your area, what's -- and units in your area, how many have embedded advisers, and hardship are partnered units? >> yeah, that's a very complex question to answer. obviously, we have 68,000 afghan security forces, and we have today just over 29,000 coalition forces, so if you did raw math, you can tell that about half of the security forces enjoy an embedded i rangement, but it's
-- arrangement, but it's really based on where the main focus of the operations are, where the enemy threat requires it, and nose units that have advanced their readiness to the point where adviser teams are adequate to sustain them. that's where we align them. within just about every brigade combat teams, area of operation, you have a mix of adviser team and embedded partnerships, so i wouldn't want to try to give you a raw number, but suffice to say all our add advise -- adviser team and units are fully invested in partnering with our afghan security forces to accelerate their development. >> dan from afp. could you tell us what's the state of rocket fire coming from
the haqqani network over the border? we heard there's a dramatic increase since may with the pakistani frontier corp. either turning a blind eye or worse. is that still the situation? has there been any improvement, and then the other question related to that is how do you see the afghan forces' ability and capability to defend the border without coalition forces? are they close to that, and are there any afghan unites able to operate there independently, and do they have helicopters, for example, that support that? >> well, dan, first of all, to your question about the cross border fires, that is actually tapered somewhat in the past several weeks, and, in fact, we've had some very good cases
in the last three weeks of the pack mill coordinating with us to respond against those cross-border fires, and that coordination occurs with every of the that happens. i'd say in the last three weeks, we're probably averaging three to four cross-border firing incidents a week, not all of those are confirmed to come from haqqani network operators, but the majority do come from the area in which they normally operate. now, we do have afghan border police that are operating independently in several areas in regional command east. in fact, in recent -- on the third of november, we transitioned an area in southwest pakteka to independent control by the 7th and second
zone of abp, a case where they advanced to that level, and we were able to focus our partnership on other elements. we are -- part of our strategy is to ensure that the afghan border police are ready to defend their border as we continue their development, and obviously, our enabler capability, like hell continue everies -- helicopters that you mentioned, is a key capability they need for some time while we continue to train and develop their own afghan air force assets. they're not ready, today, to do that, but they are clearly on a training path to attain that security primacy over time. >> with npr. i want you to talk a little bit more about troop reductions next month to meet the white house's
call for reduction in troops. a ballpark how many you expect to pull from the east, combat or support units, and also, a broader question into next year -- as you know, general allen, the top commander in afghanistan, wants to shift more american troops to the east. do you see a need for more american troops in the east, or can that hole be filled by afghan forces? >> well, thanks, tom, for that question. first of all, we've got about 200 troops to withdraw from the east to meet our target and our portion of the surge recovery, and none of those are front line combat troop, so we will sustain our focus on partnership and pressure on the insurgent network, and looking forward to
the east, clearly, the question of how many more resources you need depends upon how quickly you want to finish defeating the insurgent force here in the east, and that time line drives what resources are needed. we still have insurgent safe havens to deal with in the east. we're focused on those each and every day, and we'll maintain pressure on them with every resource we have at our disposal as we develop the afghan security forces to hold and secure their nation over time. >> general, from the times of london, can you tell me as you're planning various operations, how important is the element of night raids in both attacking the haqqani network and in gathering intelligence for your other operations, and
the second question, after 2014, can you see at this stage that it will be possible for all american sources to be out of the east in 2014, or do you think it will be necessary to keep some elements of coalition, the american forces, in the east past 2014? >> well, first of all, to your question of night raids -- clearly, operations going after the insurgent network leaders are a key component of the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism effort. those agencies of afghanistan clearly are successfully targeted at minimal risk to civilians through night raids, and those will continue to be
important, and clearly, we are focused on continuing to expand the afghan security force role in those operations. they're increasing every day, and ultimately, as we are with all operations, the goal is for them to take the lead in those operations as we continue to expand their development, and in terms of our commitment to afghanistan after 2014, i know that general allen has made it clear that there will be a continued need for security force development after 2014, and that is a part of the strategic partnership dialogue that's still ongoing, and so i would say that we will have an enduring commitment to the development of the afghan security forces and their capability.
>> general, it's lou more tee necessary from abc news. back to tom's question about the 200 forces from the east. are you saying from the 14 provinces that rc east controls, that 200 total are sent home as the first tranche or any tranche of this repositioning? >> the question that i thought he asked was how much did you have remaining to meet your surge recovery, and that's about 2 # 00, so -- 200, and, yes, that's across from the regional prosinces of rc east, and our surge recovery effort. >> follow-up -- did you have any other courses 245 left before the 200 or is this the total 200 for the year?
>> no. we had about 1500 total that we contributed and the largest portion of that was a unit that did not deploy in as part of one of the brigade formations, so they were offramped on arrival as opposed to being withdrawn from the force, so that's the bulk of our reduction, and the rest we were able to shave from non-imagery removal force formations. >> hi general, courteney from nbc news again. quickly go back to the cross-border, one follow-up on
dan's -- [no audio] >> it's obviously a number of factors. we've continued to get about the same number of attacks against our border positions, but the majority of that firing over the last several weeks has been on the afghan side of the border. now, whether or not, there is more to the explanation than thus where the enemy is shooting from, i can't answer that. i do know that the positive sign
from our perspective is the responsiveness with which the pack mill border forts have coordinated actions against the firing, and we've also had some complement ri efforts -- complementary efforts, and our counterparts on the other side of the border also adjusted positions at our request, and this is a very positive step forward, and really with a direct result of the regional border coordination meeting that the afghans held with the 11th corp. of the pakistan military in kabul a little over a month ago, and another positive sign is the communications exercises. we've done one about three weeks ago, and we have another one scheduled to go here in
november, and it involves the pakistan border forts, the afghan border forts, and also our combat outposts, and, again, the goal here is that pakistan military and afghan military secure that border as -- a bilateral way, and we are increasingly allowing them to do the majority of that coordination. >> general, tom again with npr. as you know, the strategy here in washington is to attack the haqqani network and try to get the leadership to the table to talk. at this point, have you seen or heard any indication that the haqqani leadership is willing to come to the table for negotiation?
>> i can only talk about the afghan leaders talking with our provinces here in regional command east, and so far that's not been haqqani leaders coming to the table. now, we have had a very sizable increase in insurgent leaders coming forward across about six of our provinces based on the pressure that's been applied against them over the summer, but that is not included to date any major haqqani leadership. >> general, aol -- you said you reduced mostly non-combat unitings in your draw down. we've heard that some of the biggest needs of the afghan security forces are the logistics and those kind of things. what are you doing to bolster the afghans' combat support and
logistics? >> well, thanks. i appreciate you bringing up our efforts in building their sustainment capacity. it is one of the primary objectives we have in the ongoing effort, particularly our focus for this winter as we prepare them for the spring campaign. in our brigade support battalions that support every one of our brigade combat teams are the primary trainers and partners in that effort, and they have not been touched at all by the surge recovery, and they are fully invested and partnered with the combat service support, are the core element of each afghan national army brigade, and they will remain very, very focused, and at the same time, at the -- really at the national level,
the national training mission in afghanistan under lieutenant general bolger, has an expedition their sustainment command arriving soon to focus on the national to operational level logistics development for the afghan security forces, and those two efforts combined are focused on closing the gap on tactical through national level sustainment needs of the afghan security forces. >> abc -- i think you touched earlier on the peace talks with the pakistan, and pakistani government and some of the, i guess, pakistan-taliban that's been in the news today. would you support those efforts given in the past, when there's cease fires, safe havens have been maintained and there's cross-border attacks into rc
east. >> well, i think you're really asking a strategic level question of the tactical commander. obviously, the dialogues that's going on here within regional command east occurs within insurgent leaders and afghan leaders. for example, governor fudi in the wood agent was very engaged with several groups of leaders, and expressed the desire to rejoin the government, and that conversation and that dialogue is still ongoing. obviously, this is an afghanistan-led afghanistan program, and our effort is to try to ensure that the resources they need to facilitate the dialogue, if and when it occurs, is made available.
>> thank you. >> let me just follow with one, general, one, do you agree peace and prosperity in afghanistan all depends on how pakistan behaves across the border? how do you see, sir, today relations between afghanistan and pakistan as part of the stability as far as afghanistan is concerned? >> i think stability in afghanistan has a number of factors. obviously, the safe haven that some of the insur gents enjoy in pakistan is a contributing factor, there are several other variables to be addressed by the government of afghanistan and the afghan security forces with
our support, and i'd say that the pakistan and afghanistan leadership are involved at all levels in healthy dialogue. i certainly see it with the military leaders that i work with, and as i mentioned, the regional board of coordination meeting that the afghan board of police led with the 11th corp. of the pakistan military, and so i think the two countries are in dialogue, and they have a lot of respect for each other, and i know you understand fully that during the soviet eras, there was a lot of the leaders here in afghanistan that were protected in pakistan, and they have never forgotten that, so the two countries clearly have a lot of commonground that they lean on. >> general, this is sort of a --
sort of general broad question. by 2014, american troops one way or another will have been fighting in afghanistan for 13 years. you mentioned the russians now, the russians, british, french, so far no one spent so much time fighting in one particular country other than afghanistan. now that you're contemplating that even after 2014, there will be thousands maybe of american troops still in afghanistan, what's your feeling about that? maybe from your own guys? what do they feel about the fact america's still going to be fighting, if that's the right word, in afghanistan beyond 2014 ? >> our soldiers are very committed to this mission. they see the progress that the afghan security forces are making. they also see the amount of work that is still left to be done
>> well, we have seen their wrists and friction between multiple insurgent groups across tv and that has been creased really as a summer camp and has can tune into the fall and we can see increasingly desperate action says they attack civilians, murder, travel and resort to increased intimidation to try to get the support for their continued operations here in cannot stand. they expect this to continue and clearly we know they have an opportunity and choose peace. and that is something increasingly the paris are encouraging him to do. >> chanterelle, if i could
follow, have you seen any friction between the haqqanis and the other insurgent groups achieving team there? >> well, the primary dialogue with haqqani is with the larger taliban quetta shura network and that collaboration aims to continue. albeit, it didn't achieve any results here with their attempted attacks against the loya jirga and i'm sure there's a lot of pointing the finger is why to exceed, but frankly it was the afghan security forces that denied them the opportunity. >> albright, general. i'm looking at a room with no hands raised.
so with that, i will actually turn it over to you and any closing remarks that she'd like to make emissary. >> well, thank you, jane. and thanks to all the teams they are. we appreciate you tuning in and hearing about how our troopers are doing here in afghanistan with this important mission that we are undertaking. and as i mentioned, we still have a lot of work to do. we've made great progress at their afghan security force partners over the last several in some very, very hard fighting and we have hard fighting yet ahead, but increasingly afghan security forces are leading that effort. i know you'll keep us in your prayers over the thanksgiving holiday. and particularly our families as they continue to serve selflessly at home and support us while we serve here.
on behalf of all the courageous troopers that of combined joint task force one, it is an honor on behalf of you to represent our nation here. >> general, thank you. and i can say on behalf of the men and women of my team of defense press operations and i think i can do that on behalf of the members of the pentagon press corps, we kid you not. we know how hard it is to be away from family, friends and loved ones over the holidays, so we wish all of you a very happy thanksgiving that we will probably see you again sometime here in the briefing room. but have a very happy holiday commissary. thank you. >> thanks, jane. god bless all of you and thanks for being here.
[inaudible conversations] >> there is a plug-in for wayne. people were down there selling sandbags so air force one stopped, took a motorcade to the flooded area, took off his jacket. my memory is he filled three sandbags, said hello and hi to everyone, got in the car and went back on the plane. at that night, what was still to the airwaves does not three bags. it was reagan filling sandbags with his shirt off. fof?l?
the mac -- >> next, discussion on the impact of the trade deficit reduction committee's failure to reach an agreement and the overall economic climate in the u.s. as a result. from the "washington journal," this is 45 minutes. >> welcome back to c-span and the "washington journal." david walker is former u.s. comptroller general served in the late 1990s until 2008. he is now founder and ceo of the comeback america initiative. mr. walker, thanks for being with us. >> guest: great to be back with you. post to let me share a number of headlines. "usa today" super failed the panel's inability to cut a dead show reflects the political divide in this country. your reaction to what happened late afternoon. >> guest: i think it was the greatest political failure in modern history and is also the latest and greatest example of fraud waste and abuse in
washington. namely this committee was a fraud set up to go big and have a major reduction in net debt to say. secondly, it wasted time and resources. and thirdly come and abuse the public trust. everyone associated should be ashamed and there needs to be an agree of accountability brought to bear. it is just another example of our politics have been taken over by the extremes, dominated by career politicians and special interests. it's time for the first and worst of the constitution to come alive, we the people. >> host: so what could've happened that did not have been? how do you do what they now $15 trillion debt, all sides agree to come down. the question is how do you do it? >> guest: loafers, actually think what the president did last night as a positive thing to threaten a veto if there is an attempt to undercut the $1.2 trillion sequestered. congress may want to go in and repackage that, but it's
imperative we achieve at least a 1.2. we should've done more but we need to get at least five. what they should've done is if they didn't want to sequestered to have been convicted they could have agreed for half the sequestered and come up to $600 billion plus in mandatory spending and revenues that curve gotten bipartisan support. they also could have and should have recognized this extraordinary process that gave the ability to bring things to the floor without amendment come without filibuster should have been extended with a different group of people because these 12 were not the right 12 so that after the 2012 election they could have achieved a much bigger deal that would have involved social insurance reforms and comprehensive tax reform that would generate more revenue. that's what they should've done. but they absolutely, totally failed. post what they put information on the screen to get your reaction. we've had a number of viewers and listeners making a similar point.
this information from the internal revenue service: >> guest: is unacceptable. the simple fact of the matter is our tax system is to be simpler, fairer, more comparative come a more equitable and generate more revenues. if you look at the income tax alone, 51% of americans pay no income taxes whatsoever. they pay payroll taxes coming to a lot of people are eligible for an income tax credit and effectively get a rebate of payroll taxes. so that means we have 51% that are on the wagon for only 49% pulling the wagon. we have to do something about that. at the same time the top 1% of
americans have a median effective income tax rate of 18.8%, despite the fact that our top tax rate is 35%. that is because some of the factors you just mentioned. most of the wealthiest people make their money capital gains. that is taxed at 15% or so payroll tax. we need to engage in dramatic tax reform after the 2012 election. it's imperative that we do that because the current system is an abomination and i say that being a certified public accountant among the few people who can prepare my own taxes. post or the "washington times" has this order posting the republicans refuse to strike a sham deal that would've been political cover to an unpopular congress without addressing entitlements, which are, says washington can't come as a central cause of the debt crisis. >> guest: well look, the democrats are right that we will need more revenues. but they are wrong to want to
tack on higher marginal tax rates. we need comprehensive tax reform to achieve the objective that i said and eliminate a lot of deductions and exemptions credits and exclusions, lower tax rate to 25%. tax capital gains is seen as ordinary income labor and capital the same can be accomplished and should be accomplished after the 2012 election. on the other hand, republicans say we don't need more revenue. democrats around say we don't need to renegotiate the social insurance contract. we absolutely have to and health care is eating our lunch in the affordable care act will make our lives more difficult, not easier. yet, it's a surprise that supreme court challenge. >> another point of view, arthur herman with the american enterprise institute, doomsday for defense. he says the house armed services committee, democrats and republicans issued a chilling report on what happens at the sequestered site and will be losing, for example, 60 ships in
the navy including two aircraft carrier battle groups and will have 200,000 fewer troops than we did in 2010. how real is this threat? >> guest: well, there is no question if you end up having to implement the 600 billion in cuts as quickly as they talk about, it is going to have adverse consequences. at the same point in time can we spend as much defense as the next 14 nations combined and a lot are allies. defense department is a bureaucracy. we spend way too much money on overhead or is referred to in the pentagon, teo and not enough on to. health care costs are eating the pentagon's lunch. we are still buying weapons systems based upon past, read it in current and future threats. he although i'm sure not be economically sustainable. so we do need to reduce defense spending without compromising the actual security and there is an intelligent way to do that and hopefully we'll get on with that. >> we talked with tom coburn last week.
david walker is republican from oklahoma, member of the senate finance committee. he put on the table one example of defense spending. he says there is the px in the commissary run by two different organizations within the military and his suggestion is you combine the two come to streamline operation save money. i was one small example of how the pentagon can save big. your thoughts on that. >> guest: absolutely. it's one small example. we have military personnel delivering mail. we are providing very lucrative benefits to members of the guard and reserve who aren't on that her duty. and congress did that. look, there is tremendous waste in the pentagon. and we need to have a very disciplined approach to go through its current operations and practices so we can separate the wheat from the chaff, maximize the amount of money for readiness and eliminate overhead and outdated that this is you
should be a top priority. >> host: david walker joins us from new york. send us an e-mail. email@example.com. join at twitter.com/c-span. you are mentioned as a potential candidate. you decline, what i? >> i decline for several reasons. one, family considerations. i've already given 15 years to my country and was hesitant to get many more years. so i can the senate frankly has become a dysfunctional place. the super committee deserves to reinforce that fact. thirdly, there are ways i can contribute and make a difference other than serving in elected office. i've done a lot of things for the come back america initiative and also continue to with no labels. if we get a president who's actually serious about putting finance and in order to transform government at the gao, which is transferable, i do want
be wednesday march do my time in public service. we may or may not get that and we will see. >> host: editorial from "the wall street journal," thank you, mr. norquist. josep ramirez, a question about the head of americans for tax reform. mr. walker, please talk about the pledge. >> guest: i believe the only place people at to make is to the united states of america. or should not be special-interest pledges whether senior contacts reformed so that taxes are the groups on the left with social security and medicare. anybody taken those kinds of pledges should resend those pledges and should reject them. in many cases pledges were taken back in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, when we had surpluses. now are to different situation. it's not just the right. it's also the last. the left is in denial about the need to reform programs to make
them affordable and sustainable. which do things on both sides of the ledger we better start soon. >> host: democrat with david walker, good morning. >> caller: hey, am i on? post are you sure are, please go ahead. >> caller: this is my first unpowered laminar face. what i wanted to say basically was the problem with everything is we can't have a one-size-fits-all approach. and now, when you have one side saying we have to raise taxes by the other side saying that we've got to spend. the problem is, you know, we are not punishing these guys for the failure that they have. that is the biggest problem that i see. you know, when you have this committee set up and they say okay, this person ain't doing not to. that's silly.
the working class to do is take the leadership and the voters like with the 99% he had mentioned earlier. you know, if they could use something like the concept of a flash mob, not like the flash mob, but more in the concept where everyone can pull together when they are voting on this. we can all just tape them congress back to their special-interest and money. >> host: a first-time caller. you did a good job. david walker. >> guest: i think he's right. we the people are responsible and accountable for what does or does not happen. washington has become dysfunctional. total failure of the super committee serves to underline that an underscore that fact. and you know, we need to have more people who are looking out
for the public interest rather than special interests. people want to do temporary service rather than be a career politician. you're not going to get different results than anything people back over and over again who put us in this situation to begin with. i think 2012 is going to be a very, very interesting election and hopefully the people will hold both parties accountable because both parties are responsible for where we are today and both sides have been unreasonable. and it's going to take more bipartisanship and more constructive in principle base compromise. the truth if it is about 3% in reductions in one part revenue increases and we need transformational reform; should government areas including social insurance programs, defense as well as taxes are we better do it within the next two to three years because we could have a debt crisis in the united states we don't.
>> host: this headline coming no deal, much blame. next call is john, fort lauderdale, florida. good morning. >> caller: good morning. sir, i hope you don't cut me off. i am a republican. i was. i am thinking very seriously about changing. i get so sick and tired of my parties talking about kicking the can down the road. it takes both sides over in the blame. when we definitely can see where the blame lies. what is wrong with american people when we know we did not have this deficit problem when the democrats, bill clinton was the president and as soon as their president, george bush came in to office, he rolled back the taxes and cause the problem were having.
do we know how to fix it? put the taxes backcourt bill clinton not emanuel have no problem. >> host: thank you for the call from florida. >> guest: the united states was in touch shape in 1992 when ross perot ran for president. he did not win, but he helped to set the agenda during the clinton administration and we made great progress. we had a divided congress for that period of time. we make great progress in the early 90s to 2000. the last 11 years have been by far the most fiscally irresponsible in the history of united states. we've had a congress controlled by both parties at different points in time and without a white house controlled by both parties at different points in time and they are both to blame. government has grown today, promise too much can i waited too long to restructure. yes, we need to recapture revenues from the bush up on the
cuts. but we need to do with her to mattock and fundamental tax reform, not going back to the old system. we need to broaden the base, reduce the top marginal tax rate, lemonade difference between capital gains and ordinary income and do a number of things to help to promote growth that creates more equity within the tax system while keeping us can have it is in a global economy that is increasingly competitive and that we are losing our competitive posture. poster you brought up ross perot one of the contenders as we look at candidates who ran en masse. as you indicated help save the american political agenda. this week we turn our agenda to george wallace, former governor of alabama. next week the series will wrap up with a book of ross perot. we hope you two men in specific time. check it out online at c-span.org. the headline from the
"washington times" can a super committee fails in deficit deal. jim hines has his twitter comment. please ask mr. walker would his timetable is. he's been crying wolf for years now. seriously one of the collapse? >> guest: we are currently benefiting from the instability in europe. we are a temporary safe haven and that is the reason that our interest on our debt is so low right now because people are trying to preserve principal. but as we've seen in greece and italy, portugal and elsewhere, once you lose confidence of investors, then things can change very quickly. once you lose that, once you lose fat, interest rates go up dramatically. it forces you to do dramatic and for conan thinks about the spending side and tax side. in my view, when you recognize united states is number 28 out of 34 countries in the world and fiscal responsibility and
sustainability, italy is 27, mexico's 18. the fact is if we don't start making tangible steps to demonstrate the record about finances in order, we can see a debt crisis within the next two to three years. and if that happens, it will be a global depression. we must not allow that to happen. it doesn't need to happen, but we need more leadership. >> host: that me ask you specifically about medicare and medicaid. but it is its future? >> guest: there's no question we need to have universal health care in the united states. health care is a very important thing that every american needs. at the same point in time, we also have to recognize that we need universal health care
appropriate, affordable and sustainable. we avoid overpromised in the area of health care. we need to do more with regard to preventive and catastrophic protection. we took a budget on how much to allocate that the industrialized nation and pay more for results rather than activities. we need to reform our malpractice system and get out of the business of providing very large subsidies to wealthy people who voluntarily sign up for medicare's voluntary programs and rationalize our tax system so were not rewarding and lucrative plants and wealthy individuals while not providing enough to the poor and also recognize the government always is going to have a greater role with regard to the pork from indigent and disabled as well as those who were the american uniform. we need to vatican fundamental change in the health care area. frankly the latest health care bill coming affordable care act was more of the same from
washington. let's make more promises mccarty promised whether we can afford to keep. >> host: late yesterday afternoon to brady briefing room as he delivered a six minute statement to reporters on hand. david walker is joining us from new york in the areas on the phone from west posse & co. are, independent line, go ahead. >> caller: assert my country for 15 years and in the veteran. i was in the army. and i work most of my life therefore far more stuff like that. i served mine -- you know, aaron by social security and veterans benefits, stuff like that. i don't see why they have to cut all that. but if they cut the welfare checks and stuff like that. >> host: what about that sentiment, david walker? >> guest: firsters understand two things guaranteed under the constitution to the 14th
amendment. first is bond holders of u.s. debt in the second as military pensions. nothing else is protected by the constitution. only those two things. secondly, in the case of social security we can reform that program to make itself become a sustainable come cared, phasing in changes in a prospective basis for every generation will get what's amazing they're going to get. people are talking about cutting people in pay status now are people that are close. they talk or restructuring benefits that we can actually deliver on the promises made if you will. we need to do that. with regard to other aspects of benefits, there's absolutely no question that health care benefits in the military as well as guard and reserve are going to have to be restructured. there is no way we can end up affording us benefits over time and we need to get on with it sooner rather than later to figure out an equitable way to
do that. >> host: to come back america initiative, for viewers and listeners and if they stick to what is the message of this organization? >> guest: to come back america initiative is a five o. one c. 39 basedow bridgeport, connecticut. focused on educating the public with facts of the fiscal condition. it's talking about nonpartisan solutions that gain bipartisan support to restore fiscal sanity at the federal, state and local level because all three doublespaced serious problems and all three have grown too big, promised to match, waited too long to restructuring the need to get on with it. >> host: this morning we referred to in our last hour he points out in california alone over the last four election cycles for members of house every two years but only one seat changed hands between the parties can essentially 99.5 democrats and republicans in the
california congressional districts, all 53 were reelected or maintain power in the seats. what does that tell you about american politics in your call for bipartisanship? >> guest: we have a republic that is not representative of the public and not responsive to the republic. the vast majority of house seats of the 435 are gerrymandered by state legislatures in order to protect their party and in order to entrench incumbents. we need a number kinds of political reforms. first we need redistrict a reform to maximize the number of competitive districts, not to minimize, consistent with the voting rights act has secondly we need integrated in open primaries. no democratic and republican primaries. they talk to me pack -- in my view, while there are pros and
cons we need 12 to 18 year term limits. the founding fathers never intended for people to make a career out of public office and it's filled a disconnect between the cover and in the governing the sky to be changed. the good news for california is in 2010, they pass changes in the law that will deal with redistricting and bring integrated and open primaries and hopefully have a positive impact in other states will follow their lead. >> host: the great part of the program has been viewers are able to follow up in earlier points and assists from one of our viewers say mr. walker, if i heard you correctly just now come you said the affordable care act will add to our problem. when i go to the cbo website or read the following: the cbo and staff of the joint committee on taxation estimates enacting those pieces of legislation will produce a net reduction in federal deficits of the $143 billion over the 2010 to
2019. and this question, is the affordable care act along with health care and education reconciliation will produce a net reduction in federal deficit according to cbo, what you say health care reform is going to add to our problems? what am i missing? >> guest: thank you very much for that question. first, joint committee on taxation and congressional budget office are required by their rules and by their protocols to make certain assumptions, including the congress will do things it says it will do despite clear and compelling evidence that it hasn't in the past and it's unlikely to in the future. i frankly like to at the chief actuary of medicare said at the center for medicare and medicaid services as an independent professional has also professional responsibility as an actuary. his latest opinion on medicare to face up leonov first opinion on medicare report, saying the assumptions used are unreasonable and unsustainable
in estimating the cost of the affordable care a would be $12 trillion higher than the politicians asserted. personally i go with professionals rather than politicians. i've spent 15 years in this town. i've been a presidential appointee of reagan, bush 41 and clinton and i know how they keep score and how they keep score doesn't pass the straight face test. hosts are talking about money and politics. this tree from a viewers say what about getting money out of politics? is good, how could we proceed? of course it's an issue the first amendment as well as he so the citizens united case. >> guest: there's no question we need campaign finance reform and there's no question it would take a constitutional amendment given the two recent supreme court decisions. you know, some ideas might be things like there are to be a
limit as to how much money people can raise for people who can't vote for it. how about the novel idea think people can only contribute to political campaigns to people who can actually vote. newsflash, corporations and unions can't vote. what about a type of event and how much they can finance the current campaign. they might build a finance 50% of their own campaign, but there's got to be a market test to make sure they're not just buying office. plus some sort of public financing can make sense if it's properly designed and effectively implemented. to limit the duration of campaigns. it's outrageous talent people listen to political rhetoric and how much money is spent on political campaign. why can't women from other countries were also democracy is not only have much tougher campaign campaign finance laws but the maturation of political
campaigns and have them focus much more on substance rather than on rhetoric. >> host: we are tied with david walker, former comptroller general to discuss an of the super kameny to reach an agreement. angela joins us from akin, south carolina. good morning. welcome to the "washington journal." >> caller: good morning, mr. walker. i followed your career for years and i thank you for your service. ..
>> caller: i can see the waste in medicare and medicaid from a firsthand knowledge. something as simp as diabetic shoes that if you buy them in the store, they are $250. you pay $15 for inserts, and the government is getting bills for $400 for one pair of shoes, and the law says i can receive a pair of shoes one pair per year. i have five. it's a waste. as far as the debt committee, it was never going to work because both sides went in entrenched in their own ideology. >> host: angela, thanks from the call from south carolina. to add to that, there's this from minnesota, essentially along the same lines, it's like congress to blame president for
the failures. isn't the congress supposed to be our leaders too? evidently not. david wonker? >> guest: there was a leadership failure on multiple levels. first, the co-chairs of the so-called supercommittee share a lot of the responsibility. there was a total failure of leadership. secondly, the leaders of congress who ended up appointing the members of the supercommittee share the responsibility. they failed to pick the right kinds of people. thirdly, frankly, the president is the chief executive officer of the united states. the president is the only person that has the so-called bully pulpit that can go directly to the american people and make the case, and he has yet to do that with regard to the fact that our financial condition is deteriorating rapidly that if we do not start making tough choices soon, we can find the position of the united states in the world declining, the standard of living declining for years in the future, and the
domestic tranquility in our streets being a real problem. it's not just living for today. it's how are we going to prepare for a better tomorrow? only the president can do that. there's a leadership failure from both parties, on both ends of capitol hill and both ends of pennsylvania avenue, and, you know, that's probably the biggest deficit we have in this country right now, is the leadership deficit. >> host: earlier question about your decision not to run for the senate in your home state of connecticut, jim has this point. mr. walker could never be in congress. he is much too logical and level headed. >> guest: that's part of the problem. [laughter] we need more people who are wanting to go into office for temporary public service in order to get things done rather than for a career because the simple fact of the matter is we have too many people today, and there are some exceptions obviously to this, more
concerned with keeping their job than doing their job. in fact, if congress was paid for performance, they would owe us money. >> host: clarence from louisiana, welcome to the program. you're calling on the republican line. what's on your mind? >> caller: yeah, i'm -- this is the first time i've been able to get on c-span, and about these supercommittees, this supercommittee was set up to fail to start with. if they were serious about anything, they would have taken the bowles simpson commission and implemented what the bowles-simpson commission were to do, but this group in washington, they don't want to do that. the only one who did that was paul ripe, and i think he come up with a pretty good plan, and the way the house and senate is run, when the party takes over, i'll tell you this, they run worse than third world countries. they set things on the shelf. they got dictator in there saying what they debate and what they're not, and even in the
third world countries, they have some say about it, and bill clinton, you know, and the surplus. the country don't realize, when he was in office, there was a republican senate running there, and they balanced the budget, not bill clinton. he cut the military 30% under the democrats before the republicans got in there, and they -- every cay trass trough fee you can think of, and this is back to john f. kennedy. they started this catastrophe, and i'm sick of hearing about john f. kennedy cutting taxes because what he done is put all the social security money in the surplus, in the general fund, and started spending it. >> host: clawrns, thanks for the call and making your point. let me turn that into a question. what was different with a democratic president in the 1990s and republican house of
representatives to this president, another democratic senate in the house in >> first, the supercommittee, i think, was set up to fail because look at the composition. you had two people who voted against the debt ceiling increase that created the supercommittee. you had four people who voted against simpson-bowles, and all six republicans signed the americans for tax reform pledge, so that's hardly a prescription for going big or doing a grand bargain. secondly, let's analyze the facts. this is not a partisan issue. when you look from the early 1990s through 2011, we've had four presidents, george herbert walker bush, 91, george walker bush, 42, barak obama, 44, the first two presidents, 41 and 42 did three things in common. first, nay imposed tough budget
controls that kept congress from making more promises when they already overpromised, constrained defense and other spending. secondly, did not expand entitlement programs the most imprudent thing to do, and they broke campaign promises on taxes when they saw they made irresponsible. 3-and-0, batting a thousand, one republican, they did the right thing, and it took us from deficits to surpluses and projected surpluses. fast forward to bush 43 and president obama, 0 # for -- 0-for-3, a strikeout. bush 43 is gone. president obama is change the course. the question is will he? both political parties have acted irresponsibly. presidents from both parties acted irresponsibly. we don't have enough people who are fiscally responsible, and we
don't have a political party that is at the present time. >> host: let's move this a year from now and put on the table two assumptions. for the sake of argument, assume the republicans keep the house, they pick up the u.s. senate, and a republican wins the white house, what will we be talking about a year from now? what will the republicans be doing? what's their agenda? >> guest: look, my view is that no matter who wins the house, the senate, and the white house, one thing is critically important, we have to engage the public with the facts, the truth, and the tough choices. we need a ross perot style public education and engagement effort without necessarily having a third party president because the truth is the american people are ahead of the politicians. they are smarter than the politicians are. they understand we can't spend at the rate we are, can't run the level of deficittings, can't accumulate this debt without a
day of reckoning. they see what's happening in europe, know it it happen -- know it can happen here. they adjusted their behavior, but the politicians have not. the first three words of the constitution will come alive to elect people who are going to be part of the slews rather than retaining people who are part of the problem, and so the political price associated with continuing to do nothing, which washington is very good at, will be greater than the political price of making tough choices on social insurance programs, defense, and taxes that will be more political risky to do nothing than to do the right thing that involves some tough choices today in order to help create a better tomorrow. >> host: if i could quickly follow-up on the point of a divided government versus one party having control of the white house, and if the republicans have the house, the senate, and the white house, or if the president is reelected as a democrat and the republicans keep congress, is that a recipe for getting something done?
what could we be talking about? what could change? expwhrg well, let -- >> guest: well let me answer the specific question. the last i'm there -- time there was a republican in the white house and a republican congress both in the senate and the house, one of the years was 2003. that was the first year that the budget controls that bush 41 and clinton put into place expired #, and we got three things in 2003 with one-party control that was fiscally irresponsible. first, 5 second round of tax cuts. we could afford the first, but not the second. secondly, invading a sovereign nations without declaring war and without paying for it. thirdly, medicare was adding prescription drugs, $8 billion in new unfunded promises when medicare was already underfunded. this was the party of fiscal responsibility? look, move past the party labels, they are part of the problem. you know, we need people who are
trying to do the right thing. we need progress over partisanship and need to mobilize the 70% of americans in the sensible center. 20% of americans consider themselves to be strong conservatives, 10% are liberals, 70% in the center. that's where the solutions are. we need more of those people in officing so we can save our future. >> host: pat from iowa, good morning, welcome to the "washington journal." >> caller: thanks. the only way to change the government is to have term limits. term limit for the president, and it should be term limits for the congress. one term and you're gone, each state sets the limit on their own, and the military defense should be cut in half. big military machines are outdated. keep the troops and get rid of the military hardware junk.
thanks. >> host: thanks for the call, pat. >> guest: well, i do believe we need term limits, but i believe in many cases the states have imposed term limits that are too short begin the complexities of today's world. in my view, we need 12-18 year term limits. that's plenlty for somebody to get expertise in order to get seniority, but we should not have a system where people are staying in the same job for decades. that is not conducive towards top transformational change. that is not conducive in making tough choices, and it's clearly something that i think while there's pros and cons, the pros of term limits outweigh the cons, but they have to be longer, 12-18 years. also elect half a house every two years giving them four year terms. they are dialing for dollars the day after they are reelected. >> host: one study indicating that each city member of the house needs to raise on afternoon dlsh 10,000 a week for
his or her reelection. from natalie, this treat to david walker from comeback america. we have an alternative. his name is ron paul. the last call is todd, republican line, florida, what's on your mind? >> caller: hello. i have a comment and a question. the comment was kind of taken over by the last republican caller about bill clinton and his tax laws and how we were able to resolve our issues, and beyond that, i have been watching c-span, and you've been playing a lot of good history from 1995, which pretty much showed us that the republicans were the ones standing strong and saying we're stopping this spending. we're not going to put up with this anymore, and the democrats were really having a hard time with it. beyond that, i'm over the democrat-republican issue. i was a republican all my life.
i still consider myself a republican. i'd never vote for a democrat, at least one that wants to raise taxes on everyone; however, i -- in the last few years, both parties are corrupt. both parties are into perpetual spending and taxes. the republicans are saying they don't want taxes, but in reality, they are not really cutting taxes. they are just making it better for the rich. >> host: a response, thanks, todd. david walker? >> guest: look, both parties have been acting fiscally irresponsible. the last 11 years, we've had republicans control the house and the senate for part of the time, democrats control it part of the time, a republican in the white house, a democrat in the white house, and it's been the most fiscal irresponsible period in the history of the united states. think about this -- this so-called supercommittee was supposed to help us make progress. they flat failed.
they did nothing. it was a total waste of time. yet, what are people talking about now? they want to resend this sequester. they want to, you know, they want to extend the tax cuts. nayment to extend unemployment. they want to extend the payroll tax cuts. they want to spend more money on a jobs program. guess what? all of those things make the deficit worse, not better. >> host: david walker, founder and ceo of the comeback america initiative, former controller general, joining us from new york. as always, we appreciate your time and perspective. please come back again. >> guest: happy to be with you, thank you. >> president obama was in manchester, new hampshire at the central high school voting on yes for the -- you can see his remarks beginning at eight o'clock eastern on c-span. after that, conservative groups and the tea party patriots hold
[inaudible conversations] >> now national security adviser, tom donalin. they discussed a new round of u.s. and international sanctions that targeted the country's financial and energy sectors. from the brookings institution, this is 45 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon, everybody. welcome to all of you. i'm strob, and it's a great pleasure to not just to welcome you, but to welcome tom donolin. his responsibilities are global. to fit, he's just come back, fighting the jet lag still, from
a nine day, three country trip to asia during which he conducted along with the president, of course, numerous, bilateral conversations, i think, touching on the relations between the united states and 23 other countries. his title features the words "national security. that means there is particular focus coming from him and his office on the issue of how to prevent the proliferation of dangerous, nuclear technology in general, and how to deal with the iranian threat in particular. now, this is a set of issues that has received a great deal of attention, public, official, and international just in the last couple of weeks. the international atomic energy agency put out an important and
in many ways disturbing report a couple weeks ago. the iaea board passed important resolution just late last week, and, of course, new measures were announced by the united states, the united king doll, and canada -- united kingdom, and canada, just yesterday. a number of you in the room participated in a discussion with two excellent panels during the course of the morning, and we're very grateful to tom for finding time in his very busy schedule to come and give us an authoritative update on the view from the white house. he has very little time to be with us. he needs to get back to a series of pressing, urgent meetings immediately after he finishes talking, so without further adieu, i'll turn the lectern over to him, and thank him,
again, for being with us this afternoon. [applause] >> it's terrific to see so many friends. here. i don't get a lot of -- i don't get out a lot these days -- [laughter] so for all of you i have not called or seen for awhile, i apologize, and i hope to see you on the way out here today to say helloment i'm just back from the president's trip to asia where it really was a landmark trip where we were engaged in a fundamental strategic reorientation and rebalancing of our global policy, and we were able to really execute on each and every element of it, on the diplomatic, on the economic, and on the security side, and i'd love to talk to -- talk about
that at some point going forward here. it was a terrific trip. thank you for the introduction, friendship, and leadership, and years of distinguished public service as well, and to, steve, thank you for inviting me to the event today. before i get into the speech, i want to reflect just for a minute or so on the role of places like brookings from the perspective now of a policymaker. fairly deep inside in an administration. the sentiment i want to express is one of personal appreciation. it is absolutely critical. it's an essential relationship, i think, between policymakers and those who provide fresh, pragmatic, effective intellectual capital. really couldn't be a more important. it is very easy with the press of business to get on a certain policy path and not have the kind of fresh thinking that is
necessary, and the work you do, and i see really many people around the room on whose work i relied, who have really had an impact on the thinking in the administration, and had an impact on policy. one of the core policies that president obama's pursued, and i see joe and others here, has been in the prorifflation area and the nuclear area, and the topic i'll address today is pretty core to that, which is a really fundamental, affirmative agenda of the obama administration to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of nuclear weapons in the world today. today, iran is our topic, and it really couldn't be more timely. as was said in recent weeks, there's been no nornlg of reminders of the seriousness of the threat posed by the iranian nuclear program, and the recent
iaea report and the choices made by the iranian regime resulted in iran's deep global isolation, and 245*s the topic to -- that's the topic to address today. i know you've been through topics throughout the course of the discussion, but i want to pull back and say things today that folks don't entirely agree with analytically, but i want to lay out what i think the overall impact has been of the result of u.s. policy along with internarnl partners with respect to iran over the last three years. i'd like to put these developments in context. as i said, specialically, i want to discuss how the policies of the united states and the international community have succeeded in increasing the pressure on iran for its failure to meet its corp. international obligations, and i want to address how profoundly the iranian regime is isolated at home, in the region, and globally. i'll get into that in detail throughout the course of my talk. to begin with, i think, it is important to reflect on the
reality that we, in the obama administration, faced in january of 2009. thai ran believed that iran was descendent. the iranian regime did not face, at that point, significant challenges to the legitimacy. that changed throughout the course of the year, 2009, and pretty substantially. regionally, iran's reach expanded like never before with iran in the proxy like hezbollah threatening others in the region, and the conversations we had coming into office, there was a deep sense of the threat of iran, talking to counterparts around the region and world as we came into office, and in contrast, the international community was devicing how to deal with the program. multilateral diplomacy stalled. i think that's a fair assessment. american diplomacy, direct diplomacy, was seemingly taken off the table. that's a fair assessment as well. you'll find me checking myself on these things because i want
to really go through carefully and test every assertion i make for precision, frankly because i think it's important to speak about this with precision. during that time, iran went from having 100 center fusions for enriching uranium in 2003, to more than 5,000 when president obama took office in 2009. more troubling, many in the world gave the benefit of the doubt to the iranians and up stead, blamed the united states for tensions over the nuclear program, and there by allowing them to escape accountability. this was the dynamic we faced coming into office, and one we were determined to alter coming into office. president obama and the administration has been clear about the danger of nuclear program, and it's important to set that out here. it's a grave threat to the security of the united states, and to the world.
a nuclear armed iran means an arms race in the middle east, a region already characterized by volatility, conflict, and a very high degree of potential miscalculations. a nuclear armed iran could further bold their terrorism and constitute a threat to countries across the region including the state of israel. a nuclear armed iran poses a threat to the shipping lanes of the persian gulf and strategic straits. iran armed with -- my scent gets in the way. an iran armed with nuclear weapons with long range missiles to deliver them affects our allies in europe. a nuclear armed iran poses an unprecedented challenge to the nonproliferation treaty. the regime and this would raise fundmental questions about the ability of the international
community to start the spread of the world's most deadly weapons and lead to a spiral of additional proliferation. president obama's been une equivocal with our poll soy to the program. i quote the president, "there should be no doubt the united states and international community are determined to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons." end quote. that's the president's words, and the policy of the united states. after taking office, we presented iran with a unprecedent the opportunity for dialogue. this is very important. the united states directly, and our p-51 partners presented iran with a clear choice. fulfill your international obligations to deepen your political integration with the world, achieve greater prosperity for iran and allow them to return to their rightful place in the community of nations and pursue a future, or
they can continue down the path of flouting its responsibilities and face greater pressure and isolation. the purpose of the offer had two dwengses to it. first, it was a sincere offer of dialogue. it was an over to engage in a diplomatic approach and potential solution to the problem. it had tangible benefits for iran, obviously, attempting to seal the deal the situation with the diplomatic fashion, and this is described by a lot of writers in the room, ken and ray did a good piece recently describing this in the washington quarterly. secondly, if the offer was rejected, iran's failure to meet international obligations would be exposed to the entire world, and the burden would shift and they'd see it's iran, not the rest of the international community responsible for the impasse. that, in turn, would increase the ability of the united states and the international community to mobilize support for holding
exposed in 2009. i think there is a critical step for us to have taken. if the recall september 2000 night the united states, france and britain blew the whistle on a covert facility, which did not allow iran to have that as an option for feeding the breakout. indeed, and this really is quite critical, iran is the only member of the npt that has not been able to convince the u.n. security council and the international committee generally its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and i think that is an important point to -underscore. they are the only nation that has come lately utterly unable to convince the national committee for peaceful purpose of the program despite its protestations about it being peaceful. and it's to see frankly has just continued to raise questions in doubt about this. unless of course, and an iaea report we talked about earlier. the united states is an exact by
what we said we wanted. we are steadily increased the pressure on the reading regime and raise the cost of its gyms and are approach has been multidimensional and i want to describe your account has included size to stink yet mutually reinforcing my faction. one, we have led the way in recognizing an unprecedented price for iran's behavior had succeeded in delaying the iranian nuclear program. two, we have led a concerted effort to isolate iran diplomatically as never before regionally and globally. third, we have worked with partners to counter iran's efforts to destabilize the region, especially during the arab spring. fourth, we have subtly and substantially vested in the vendor defense partnership in the region, building a robust regional security architecture that plumbs iran's ability to
threaten coerce neighbors especially gulf cooperation partners. we have enhanced our significant and enduring presence in the region and in addition we work to develop a network of air and missile defenses, shared early warning, improved maritime security, close cooperation income expanded programs to build capacity and increased efforts to harden and protect our partners critical infrastructure. these efforts have reassured our department in the region. i've been deeply involved in this and it's been critically important in terms of reassurance. the steps demonstrate unmistakably to tehran that any attempt to dominate the region will be futile and they showed the united states is prepared for any contingency. i would add that her new missile defense program come with european allies face adaptive approaches more effectively care to protecting our nato allies from the growing iranian missile
threat that we face over the next decade. it has a lot of advantages because that is the topic of another seminar or session here. but it is precisely geared to the threat. we are successfully implementing in europe at the lisbon nato summit of the european countries have signed on. turkey most recently agreed to host a forward radar and it can be done in a timely way. and fifth in the final element of the approach i want to describe today is even as we keep the door open for diplomacy, president of donna said as recently as last week, we are not taken any options off the table and pursuit of our basic objective. taken together it's multidimensional approach multiunit two-dimensional approach has put us in a position to employ any option with a full range of options as we continue to ratchet up pressure on the iranian regime for its continued choice to
continue to flout its obligations. with respect to the first element, increasing pressure to her face sanctions succeeded in the reading or seeing today. we work with the congress to write and sign the comprehensive sanctions accountability and divestment act combined with passengers are now subject to tax issues and use the various authorities provided in this tactic and international firms and banks after the financial sector. internationally, we defeated in building a broad and deep international coalition to hold iraq accountable. president obama is engaged with foreign counterparts, including leaders of russia and china and a week ago saturday in honolulu during the course of the attack, gross both with resonant to gentile ms paint the way for passage of u.n. security council
resolution 1929, which helped create the most comprehensive international sanctions on iran today. we have worked with allies and partners to build on the u.n. sanctions and those in the room i see described all too layered effort put in place with the u.n. security council is that the dispute to european union has imposed on measures against iran's financial banking and insurance transportation and energy sectors as well as the revolutionary guard. south korea and japan, to have iran's major partners such a connection to limit commercial activity and financial links with iran. other nations including canada, uae, strewn post additional measures and the very significant step following resolution 1929, the sophisticated long-range symptom to iran. the effect of the sanctions has been clear. coupled with mistakes and difficulties in iran, they have flowed into iran's nuclear
efforts. they made it more difficult and can't say for iran to acquire key materials and equipment for its original program including items iran can produce itself. in may 2011 report of the u.n. panel backs first concluded that sanctions are slowing iran's nuclear program. in 2700 marines atomic energy organization boasted they would have 50,000 centrifuges installed within four years in time to design for the bill. we now near the end of 2011 and the iaea reports iran has installed a thousand centrifuges or had success in operating right now. importantly, not only is hard to proceed is more expensive. as many studies demonstrate it would be far economic and efficient to purchase nuclear fuel on the international market and develop an indigenous enrichment of feel production capability or mark of iran continues to make huge investments, most of the published, even if it cuts back
on support and investment in this economy and its people. this is the larger context for the iaea report. we were not surprised by the report because it confirmed everything we had known since the first day the president took office. the report is entirely consistent with the facts and analysis that shaped our entire approach since january 2009. for example, we are a new iran had in nuclear weapons, technologies until 2003 and in the words of the iaea report, activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device may still be ongoing. the facts are undeniable. despite decades of going into denial and deceit notwithstanding setbacks who should be clear that under the guise of a clearly civil nuclear program cover government iran develops a nuclear capability. quite simply the arena sheen is not fundamentally awkward, but we succeeded and the
international community has the time season needs to affect iran's leaders who must know they cannot debate or avoid the choice really before them. going before we therefore content to use every tool as i described earlier to continue pressure on the regime and sharpen the choices they must make. we need to be vigilant and we will be. will work aggressively to protect efforts and expose them and force iran to place international expansion when we disclosed covert enrichment facility coming tonight and ran the option of using the facility to secretly produce uranium -- enriched uranium. but the iaea inspectors still on the ground, any iranian efforts to divert safeguarded nuclear material would likely be detected quickly before iran could use material to produce significant quantity of highly pressuring him. meanwhile we continue to increase pressure and you saw
this yesterday that secretary clinton and geiger announced additional steps we've taken. for the first time a target iran's petrochemical site or prohibiting provision of good, services and technology authorizing penalties against any person or entity in activity. we expand energy sanctions come and make it more difficult to operate, maintain and modernize oil and gas that your period for the first time, we designated the entire iranian banking sector is the jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern detailing deceptive practices across the uranium financial sector, including by the central bank of iran, making clear the grave risk faced by governments or other financial institutions to continue to do business and we are not ruling out additional steps against iran's banking section, including against the central bank of iran. as we do all this, were not take any options off the table and no one should doubt.
this leads me to the larger point that i wanted to make today. and that is something i've wanted to discuss publicly for some time, the extraordinary isolation iran finds itself in today. even as tehran refuses to engage in destabilizing behavior iran is fundamentally weaker, more isolated, more vulnerable and badly discredited than ever. compared to one president obama took office, iran is greatly diminished around the world. as a result of the choices made by its leadership. i'll discuss her situation domestically in iran. at home iran is feeling tremendous pressure. it's harder for banks to support the procurement terrorism to engage in international finance peer just recently president ahmadinejad carcinogens that these economic assaults in the country's history continuing the
quote every day or banking and trade activities and agreements are monitored and bought to fatten seminar papers cannot make international transactions anymore. it's become exceedingly difficult for iran and any studio in euros or dollars anywhere in the world is increasingly difficult if not impossible for the banking system in the world. we will submit hard for me in for the reigning government refined petroleum to further develop the oil or gas sector. according to the minister, country faces a shortage of $100 billion in investment deals for oil and gas sector shortage that will increasingly affect future revenues. other set or is affected as well. major companies, shale, toyota, she had come she had come, credit suisse in a long janet long must've ended for drastically reduced business with iran. as a result of decisions made by the iranian leadership. the impact of sanctions is
compounded by rampant corruption and patronage in iran. the islamic revolutionary guard continues to expand involvement in the arabian economy at a time when iranian people are squeezed by a shrunken economy, the higher gc is filled in their funds are passed to them to put iraq syria, lebanon. this only adds to iran's economic woes and the frustration of the people appeared as a result, iran's economy is increasingly vulnerable and inflation is around 20% unemployment persistently high and contrary to what's been written despite high oil prices can iran will have negligible economic growth this year. these are the heavy cost the regime has chosen to impose on people by its international obligations. these economic difficulties on my challenge to a regime that 30 seen its legitimacy soccer and this is a critical point of come into focus since the elections
in 2009. the response to the green movement tears go revealed hollowness of the government can claim to draw legitimacy from its populace and islamic principles. this is a regime that doesn't offer anything to its young population which employs intimidation and violence to remain in power, the same recipe for the arab spring. a top isolation from the people, the regime is increasingly divided and to criticize and increasingly and dramatically visible outside of iran. the supreme inner president, to shed are headed towards confrontation with the direction the countryis supreme leaders talk about its power further by abolishing the presidency and we see developing among the ruling class in the regime is really focused intensely and exclusively on preserving its rain at all costs. just as the regime is increasing legitimacy at home, he ran his
increasingly isolated in the region. the regional balance of power is tipping against her and another of those in the server disagree with the assessment mma go on to lay it out. next-door, a rant has failed in its effort to shape iraq into a state and its own image. in fact, iraqis move in the opposite direction. i saw your testimony last week at the house on this and went through it carefully and add some responses to it here. [laughter] just to give you a heads up on that. but i am reading your testimony. [laughter] iran and iraq have very different visions of their future. and iraqis are moving the opposite direction of any client state that iran may be trying to establish they are. they are building a sovereign
and democratic state with a former vision to elicit outside interference. one recent poll found 14% of iraqis have a favorable opinion of iran. there's really a nationalist dynamic at work here. even the support of outside had unfavorable opinions of iran by a margin of three to one according to this poll. not even as we finish removing our forces, from iran, we will do so by the end of december december 2011, we remain steadfastly committed to long-term strategic partnership with iran, including robust security cooperations in which health insurer iran is a strong and independent player in the world and indeed on december 12, prime minister maliki is coming to the united states of -underscore the breadth and depth of the relationship going forward that the united states is building with iraq. as a close partner in the region and multiple dimensions from the
diplomatic education to development of the oil sector, the critically robust security cooperation. iran has sought to intimidate the goal state into yielding to iranian dominance and indeed i think iranian combat and have spent a lot of time working on this has actually caused the tcc countries to unify as never before and they are resisting iran. to reassure her original defense and security architecture described earlier, the council states are more united than ever and were willing to challenge tehran and we seem not. you can iran has failed to take advantage of the arab spring and put it mildly, in the air of spring has been unkind to iran. he can't imagine a narrative to contrast more. this season has change clearly has rss met with iranian leaders
flat-footed and i'm prepared. the events from tunis to damascus have made iran's claims that change can only come through that resistance and meanwhile the iranian regime's hypocrisy has been exposed as a report to celebrate abroad while continuing to crush dissent at home. just like al qaeda and this has presented a fundamental narrative of the arab spring has presented a fundamental narrative challenge to al qaeda. iran's extremist violence and denial of the human race is repudiated by generation now demanding universal rights they take in streets across middle east north africa appeared in the coming and people in tunisia, egypt, libya, syria are not trained to be more like iran. not surprisingly the data in point of public opinion consistently shows iran's image has plummeted. while in 2006, iran's favorability and the arab nations to 80% generally. it is now down to an average
below 30% are the most common reason for this iran's crossing dissent at home underscored by reaction in 2009 elections, fermenting sectarian conflict. rather than looking to iran, people in arab countries within the opposite direction towards universal rights democracy. as they do come president of him has placed in the daytime in the right side of history, making a clear policy of the united states mr. promote reform in support transition to democracy. today in a region where iran is basically down to just two principal remaining allies. i wanted to go through this in some detail. the assad click, deicide group and hezbollah. and like iran, they too are fundamentally at odds with the forces now sweeping the region.
the assad regime, deicide group if you will, tehran's most important ally is thoroughly isolated and now increasingly universally condemned. the arab league appalled by her talladega shown remarkable leadership in taken extraordinary step of suspending serious membership. in turkey, prime minister berger wants government spent a decade deepening its ties to syria and invested a lot in this says it no longer will be fooled by assad's promises and today prime minister join the international calling for president decide to step down. the handwriting is on the ball. change is inevitable. as president of ahmed said, on actions to share a thought is ensuring industry seem to be left in the path of the creatures. people who have demonstrated to determine its future. analytically what does it mean? the end of the assad regime would constitute iran's greatest setback in the region, a
strategic vote that would further shift the balance of power in the region against iran. iran would've lost its closest ally in the region have been actively funded and assisted in bearing material ways the regime's brutality and killing of its own people will be discredited in the searing people in any future government. iran's isolation from the world will deepen tehran's ability to project violence and its instability in the bonds to replant proxies, hasbro and hamas are vastly diminished. that's her analytical judgment. iran's is isolated from the international community. more nations than ever are imposing additional sanctions measures that finds fewer protectors and business partners. they've taken a great nation and a nation civilization and turned it into a pariah state unable to integrate or engage with the world. this is a tragedy. three events in particular
illustrate how isolated it has become in the wake of the iaea report, the board of governors overwhelmingly voted to demand iran take steps to address the concerns raised in the report. 32 nations voted to demand that iran's obligations, only two countries sided with iran at the iaea board of governors meeting, cuba and ecuador. second, iran is further isolate about the plot to assassinate the saudi ambassador here washing in. i have to confess i was initially struck by the reaction in some quarters, those who look at the plot and said come is this really how iran operates? this doesn't sound like iran. this is not the way they operate. those of you in this room know so well and those who saw the history for the last 30 years, this is exactly how iran is operated. the public was a staple of support for terrorism from bombings to attacks against the
israeli embassy in jewish mutual association and many others. it would take a woman a speech to lay this out, but people in this room don't need the history lesson. nor was this the plot of some low-level figure appeared our information confirms the iranian officials overseeing the plot, the leaves on if you will, were official offices with the higher gc cuts forced the terrorist arm of iran headed by major general cosenza lamantia. who is trained and financed in iraq and american personnel. we are very familiar with this group and deal with it every day. faced with these facts on the international community is taken action and the treasury department has imposed sanctions and for the main culprits in the conspiracy archimedean european allies, the arab league condemns the plot. last week the u.n. general assembly voted on friday
overwhelmingly to deplore iran's behavior in the fight against the saudi ambassador in washington d.c. 106 nations against iraq from eight countries against iran, a country's voting with iran. most significantly not a single muslim or arab nation voted with iran. not one. for an islamic republic that wants imagined itself as the leader, the repudiation isolation could not be more complete. third, the united nations yesterday -- at the united nations, member states voted to condemn iran's human rights record and indeed the iran's human rights are subject to u.n. monitoring, shattering claims of the west are unfairly singling amount. weekends at home diminishes the region is isolated in the world, this is a dramatic shift in iran's fortunes that have occurred over the last three
years in existence who succeeded in changing dynamics that was at work when president obama came into office. three years ago the leadership is largely united. today tehran is wracked with division and again i don't think that's an unfair assessment. three years ago the community was divided on how to proceed and today we have unprecedented degree with alex to be held accountable and that's a fair assessment. three years ago was uncertain whether the additional pressure could be brought to bear. today the regime is subject to the broad and stronger sanctions over face contributing to fundamental and economic weakness. i thought that's there as well. iran's leaders are responsible for the predicament canadian theaters in iran's leaders alone have the power to choose a different horse. tehran can choose a different direction. it has to see the diplomatic opportunity before and cooperate fully with investigators and
comply with u.n. resolutions and require iran to suspend enrichment reprocessing. if iran doesn't change its course, the pressure will grow. working with allies as we will continue to increase sanctions with her cooperation partners continue to build an architecture to prevent iran from threatening neighbors and deep in iran's isolation regionally and globally and again even as the door to diplomacy remains open, will take no option off the table for focus and purpose are cleared, pressures and means nonindependent policy is for them to determine to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and all that flows from that. meanwhile as president of ahmed said, we stand with the iranian people and the seek universal rights deserve a government that puts ambitions ahead of its nuclear ambitions including a normal relationship with the rest of the world in the united states. with the iranian people to benefit from trade and the global economy. put simply, the iranian people
deserve a future wealthy of their past and not deal comes in on the regime in tehran abandons a direct pursuit of a nuclear program that does nothing for his people but endangers the security of the world. thank you for your patience and look forward to a couple questions. [applause] >> tom, thank you very, very much for that. before britain a session to a close come as you suggest it will put a two-part question to you but i suspect reflects at least some of the thinking and curiosity in the room. you have made a very powerful statement that the coordinated policies of the united states and international community have imposed a world of hurt, not to mention discredited isolation on a rant, but has not yet succeeded in getting iran to use your phrase, alter its nuclear
behavior. what do you think chances are of the policy clinics the related point is, what is it going to take to get the necessary degree of support from the chinese and the russians? you've had some exposure to both of those leaderships recently. >> with respect to the chances for success, given the severity of challenge and threat, when international community over to ourselves to pursue every option and to pursue the multidimensional simultaneous mutually reinforcing set of steps we are taking. what we require is persistence common unity and we have a very high premium on unity and indeed we believe that if something they need to look out and see. as i said it needs to be multidimensional and i think again we can't take any options off the table. over time, the goal of course
would be to raise the praise, and force a choice. and that's what we're going to do. with respect to russians and chinese, we've had good coordination and cooperation. they support on each sanctions efforts at the u.n. they both were so suffers faithfully. they have been very good partners as we built up this unified effort to force the choice on the iranian regime. >> tom, thank you very much. by the way, we notice certainly the brookings folks noticed you put out to suggestions on issues that you might come back and talk about at some point. one is diplomatic engagement and the other is missile defense. will stay in touch. could ask everybody please to keep your seats pollio scored tom out of the building so he can get back to the white house. thank you, tom. >> thank you,